Lawmakers & Advocates Celebrate New Law Opening Pathways to Employment for Residents without College Degrees

This week State Senator Ryan Fazio (R-36) and House Majority Leader Jason Rojas (D-9), along with advocates from Opportunity@Work, celebrated the signing of H.B. 5524, specifically Section 125, by Governor Lamont, which eliminates college degree requirements for the vast majority of state government jobs under law.

The new law, championed by Senator Fazio for the last two years, ensures that state job opportunities will be open to all Connecticut residents and workers based on their individual skills and career experiences rather than whether they have received a bachelor’s degree.

The policy formally codifies and extends regular practices by the Department of Administrative Services in Connecticut, which collaborated with Sen. Fazio and Rep. Rojas in passing this new law.

“By removing unnecessary barriers to employment, our state opens doors for talented individuals who may have been overlooked due to their inability to attend or finish college due to personal circumstances,” Fazio said in a release. “When you expand the pool of qualified candidates for state jobs, we do not only provide opportunity to more people but also expand the talent pool for the state workforce and benefit those relying on services and paying our taxes. Abilities and aptitudes are not just concentrated in the minority of the population who has a college degree.”

“Great talent oftentimes goes underutilized when hiring decisions stringently adhere to conventional approaches to gauging job qualifications,” Rojas said. “Prospective job seekers can now apply real-world experience and bring that expertise to jobs that provide indispensable services for residents throughout the state. “

“Almost half of the workers in Connecticut are Skilled Through Alternative Routes (STARs) instead of a bachelor’s degree. This law is an important signal to STARs across the state, reinforcing Connecticut’s commitment to hiring individuals based on the skills needed for a job, regardless of where they gained them,” said Blair Corcoran de Castillo, Vice President, Policy, Opportunity@Work. 

Senator Fazio also expressed his gratitude to the Department of Administrative Services staff, Commissioner Michelle Gilman, and Rep. Jason Rojas for their vital contributions.

“This new law reflects the general practices of the Department of Administrative Services. The study that we passed last year showed that roughly 9 in 10 state jobs with DAS already do not require a degree unless necessary as part of credentials, like an engineering degree for a civil engineer. Commissioner Gilman and the DAS staff deserve a lot of credit for practicing pro-opportunity policies,” Fazio said. “This new law will ensure that those policies carry on well into the future, no matter who is staffing our agencies. I would also like to extend my gratitude to Rep. Rojas for his support in passing this new law. Connecticut is now one of just several states in the entire country generally prohibiting college degree requirements for state jobs and helping to lead the way to an economy and government that promotes opportunity for all.”